Monday, July 3, 2017

Sourdough bruschetta with cherries, ricotta, seeds & nuts and miso dressing

Lately, my clothes, my face, my hair, my hands have all been covered in flour, because lately I’ve been making bread almost twice a week. It happens to me from time to time, this bread obsession, and each time it happens I enjoy it even more because we get to savor real bread, homemade bread, bread that has flavor and texture.

But what to do with all this bread, apart from eating it warm from the oven which is my absolute favorite thing to do? Well, bruschetta, what else? Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the best choices of course and since it’s cherry season, with the ruby red fruits taking over the markets and my fridge, I chose to top my bruschette with them.

Cherries, ricotta cheese, rocket, nasturtium leaves (picked from my very own (!!) plant, and those who know me understand what a feat this is since I manage to unintentionally kill every plant that enters my home within 24 hours), a mix of nuts and seeds —pumpkin seeds, black and white sesame seeds, hazelnuts —, and a flavor bomb which is the miso dressing. How I love miso you can’t even imagine!

This is a summer recipe, meaning it needs the minimum amount of effort to get an incredibly delicious outcome and there’s a plethora of flavors and textures going on in this seemingly simple bruschetta. There’s sweet flavor from the cherries, fresh, peppery and slightly bitter notes from the rocket and nasturtium leaves, nutty and earthy from the seeds and nuts, umami, salty flavor from the miso paste, while the sour flavor of the bread complements all the rest.

The textures dance from crispy (nuts) to creamy (ricotta), from juicy and plump (cherries) to crunchy (seeds), from smooth (dressing) to hard (bread crust) and they give you pleasure with every bite.

Get out your bread and your cherries and get on it!

Sourdough bruschetta with cherries, ricotta, seeds & nuts and miso dressing

Miso is a fermented paste made predominantly with soybeans but can also be made with rice or barley. I absolutely love its deep, umami flavor and I’ve been using it for years in savory and sweet dishes. There are numerous kinds of miso paste and here I used white miso (shiro miso), which is made with rice and has a milder flavor that’s suitable for dressings. Miso has a very interesting and multi-dimensional flavor but make sure to use good quality miso paste, otherwise the only flavor you’ll get will be that of salt.

The dressing is a marriage of sorts between Japan and Greece. All the ingredients were Japanese apart from the oil. I used Greek extra virgin olive oil because that’s the kind of oil I always have in my kitchen and the one I always use unless it seriously affects the flavor of what I’m pairing it with, which is rare. You could certainly use a more neutral oil like vegetable, sunflower or peanut if you’d like.

I used my own white sourdough bread to make these bruschette. You could use a darker sourdough that would be even heartier.

Yield: 4 servings


for the miso dressing
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp rice vinegar (without sugar)
1½ heaped tsp white (shiro) miso paste
1 tsp mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
Freshly ground white pepper, 5-6 turns of the pepper mill

for the seeds and nuts mix
A handful of blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
2 tsp white sesame seeds
2 tsp black sesame seeds (not Nigella seeds)
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

for the bruschette
4 large and slightly thick slices of sourdough bread, toasted
Fresh ricotta cheese, or Greek anthotyro if you can find it (250-300 g)
Fresh sweet cherries (I used Greek cherries), rinsed, pitted and cut in half (3-4 cherries per bruschetta)
Rocket leaves, rinsed and dried
Nasturtium leaves (optional), rinsed and dried
Freshly ground white pepper


for the miso dressing
In a small bowl, add all the ingredients for the dressing and using a small wire whisk blend everything well until you have a smooth mixture. It will a little bit thick, like runny honey.

for the seeds and nuts mix
You can toast the hazelnuts (before you chop them) and the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they start releasing their aroma, or you can use them raw.
Mix all the seeds and nuts together in a small bowl and set aside.

assembling the bruschette
Take your bread slices and smear a good amount of ricotta cheese on top to have a thick layer. Season the ricotta with a little salt and white pepper.
Top the ricotta with a few rocket leaves and then arrange the halved cherries on top. Scatter each bruschetta with the nuts and seeds mix and pour the miso dressing over the top. Finish off with some nasturtium leaves, if using, and enjoy!


Post a Comment